A Homecoming for New NDA President
TYNGSBORO -- The Academy of Notre Dame has appointed John O’Brien president of the private, Catholic school for students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
The appointment marks the return of the Dana Point, Calif., resident to his Massachusetts roots. He started his career in education as a teacher and coach before moving into administrative roles, including a three-year position at Phillips Academy in Andover. He has held several head-of-school positions, and most recently served as president at St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel, Calif.
“I am truly blessed and thrilled to be joining the NDA community,” O’Brien said, “and I pledge to continue to build on the very fine work that the board of directors, administration, faculty and staff have accomplished since the school’s inception to make it such a strong and highly regarded institution.”
Joseph McNamee, chair of the academy’s board of directors, said of O’Brien, “During his 35-year tenure as a leader in the world of independent schools, Mr. O’Brien has developed a particular talent in marketing, advancement and admissions, in addition to his fine work with faculty recruitment and curriculum development. His proven experience will be crucial as the academy continues to strategically position itself to continue to serve families for years to come.”
In a letter to NDA parents, O’Brien wrote: “Globalization has made it abundantly clear that schools and the students and teachers in the 21st century will need to focus less on memorization of facts that are unconnected and more on studying information in ways that promote deeper critical thinking (analysis and synthesis) and creative, innovative and collaborative approaches to problem solving.
“Developing a true global mindset and an understanding and appreciation for other cultures will also be a must for students,” the letter continued. “Additionally, technology has become part of the fabric of education, and schools must acknowledge their pedagogical obligation to not only embrace it and remain current with the latest practices and applications but also address the ethical and responsible use of technology by students.”
O’Brien holds a B.A. in History and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies in American Studies from Dartmouth College. He will begin his tenure at the academy Monday.